The Higher Education Commission (HEC) is likely to receive an allocation of Rs48.5 billion in the annual budget for the next fiscal year 2012-2013 compared to Rs26 billion received in the current fiscal year 2011-2012.
Credible sources in the HEC told ‘The News’ here Wednesday, that out of the total allocation being made in the budget for next fiscal year, an amount of Rs15.8 billion has been earmarked for developmental schemes to be carried out under PSDP. According to the plan chalked out by the HEC, only 14 new projects of high nature have been included in the over all programme for the next fiscal year. While 149 ongoing mega schemes have been put in the development works lists during the year 2012-2013. Though works were initiated on 149 development schemes by HEC during the current year, but could not be completed only due to non-payment of the allocated funds in the last year’s budget under PSDP by the federal government. Though government had allocated development funds worth Rs14 billion to HEC in the current year, but the total funds of the allocated amount were not released, marring developmental works, which otherwise were to be completed by June, 2012.
Among the total development funds of Rs15.8 to be allocated this year, major share of the amount would be earmarked for indigenous scholarships to be awarded to students, who are also sent abroad for studies. Giving details of the major projects to be carried on during next fiscal year, the official sources told that over 5,000 scholars would benefited under PhD scholarship scheme and a sum of Rs625 million has been earmarked for this purpose in the next fiscal year. Similarly, Rs645 million would be spent on indigenous scholarship programme. For House Job Scholarship plan, an amount of Rs200 million would be sanctioned. For improvement of infrastructure of universities in Pakistan, a sizeable amount has been allocated in the next fiscal year. For the improvement and revamping of Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Rs100 million would be spent, whereas Rs78 million would be granted to State Technology Institute and for Karakoram University Rs34 million would be earmarked during the next fiscal year.
Similarly, according to sources, the HEC had demanded a total allocation of Rs58.5 billion for the next fiscal year from the government however, Rs10 billion less is being allocated against the demand. During the current fiscal year, HEC is facing a shortfall of Rs14 billion amount, which has yet not been released by the government despite allocation in the budget for the year 2011-2012. Due to deficit of Rs14 billion, the HEC has been unable to pay the emoluments to the employees according to 15 per cent raise made in salaries during the year 2011-2012. Over 85 thousand employees have been affected due to insufficient funds provided in the annual budget for the year 2011-2012. They even protested for their right but till now no positive outcome has been achieved till this period. Moreover, the government had during a conference assured the HEC for provision of amount of Rs2.5 billion in April, but even this has not been released. When HEC authorities demand off the government for clearing the dues to this department enabling it to clear up the liabilities of the employees, ministry of finance comes with an excuse of shortage of funds.
HEC spokesman when approached for comments confirmed all information provided by the official sources to this correspondent.